Only Begotten Son

Dear Brethren,

When Jesus was teaching the beatitudes to His disciples He was showing the right way to live and the result of living that correct lifestyle.  Jesus told of many ways we ought to behave, and He followed up with the results that would come from living Christian lives:  Theirs is the Kingdom; they shall be comforted; they shall inherit the earth; they shall be filled; they shall obtain mercy; they shall see God, and so forth.  Matthew includes these words of Jesus:

Matthew 5:9  Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

That is the first place recorded where Jesus uses the phrase, “Children of God.”  We almost read right over “Children of God” as being so much semantics.  Actually, being set apart from those in the world and becoming children of God is a great truth that too many do not consider.

When does a person become one of the children of God?  The answer is, when one takes on the name of God.  However, not everyone possesses the Father's name.  In the book of Revelation we read a remarkable prophecy about those who do have the Father's name.

Revelation 14:1  I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him a hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father's name written in their foreheads.

So we see that everyone does not have the Father’s name.  When does a Christian receive the Father's name?  Are we born with it?  Do we take it on at the resurrection?  How and when does a converted person acquire the Father's name?  A Christian receives the Father's name at baptism.  It is the same name that Jesus, the Son of God, possesses.  At baptism, a convert is baptized into the Spirit of God – which is the spiritual life of God.

1Corinthians 12:13  By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body... and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

At baptism, we become children of God - possessing the Father's name.

2Corinthians 6:18  And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.

When we began our physical life we were given our dad's surname – his last name which is common to all the members of the family.  At baptism, with the receiving of God's Holy Spirit we begin to put on God's spiritual life with our Father’s name – making us children of God.

John 1:12-13  As many as did receive Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but [by the Will] of God.

Then John says, “We apostles saw Him with our own two eyes!”

John 1:14  And the Word was made flesh [a human being], and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

One of the first points that John makes is that we have been called to tap into that same grace and truth that Jesus received from His Father.

John 1:16  And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.

That is an incredible statement when we understand that John is telling us that Christians receive the fullness of God and grace for grace!

The word translated "grace" in the New Testament comes from the Greek word charis, which means “favor, blessing, and kindness.”  When the word “grace” is used in connection with God, we have always defined it as “God’s unmerited pardon,” a much more powerful meaning.  But in verse 14 we saw that Jesus was full of grace and truth.  Jesus did not need God’s unmerited pardon – because He never sinned.  That is not the kind of grace being spoken of here.

What then does “grace for grace” mean?  John is saying that the very same favor and kindness that an only son receives from his father – in this case God the Father for His Son, Jesus Christ – is now being bestowed on us!  The Father gives us everything that He once gave to His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.  When we become children of God, we too become recipients of the very same grace—favor and kindness that Jesus, as the Son of God, received from His Father!

We’ve been called by God – and invited into His Family – now and forever more.  The Family of God is composed, of God the Father and Jesus Christ, and the brethren who are now sons of God.

1John 3:1-2  Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew Him not.  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.

Sermon:  "Only Begotten Son"